9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Same Sex Families Building II, Auditório B1.03

Whats sex got to do with it?

Combining contributions from sociology of family and of gender, this paper presents the results of a research conducted among homosexual couples, aiming to understand the dynamics of power embedded in their division of household labour.
The main goal is to identify factors, beyond the ones enclosed in the heteronormative frameworks, which define the strength or weakness of the power relations in the domestic sphere. To meet this purpose, 30 semi-structured interviews were conducted separately, to gay and lesbian couples, living in conjugality for at least one year in an urban location (Lisbon).
Unlike the majority of the researches done on the division of household labour in Portugal, in this one the dichotomy man/woman was deliberately excluded from the analysis of power dynamics that are produced in the domestic and intimate relations sphere. There are always power relations within couple members, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Thus, these power relations are activated and structured according to diverse situations, timings and resources (scholars, economics, symbolic...) of each couple member. In this sense, the patterns of power fluctuation must be analysed through the comprehension of all the context features and resources that are used in negotiation, and not only the ones related to the construction and reproduction of gender roles.